Not the Average Joe: When the boxer becomes the coach

In his latest column for Boxing News, former European super-lightweight champion Joe Hughes discusses why he is now coaching amateurs and why it’s more than just being a trainer. But does it satisfy someone who is not officially retired?

Last weekend, we were in Essex with a young boxer competing there. It was a long day, leaving the gym at 9:45am and returning at 11pm.

Our boxer won. It was a significant achievement for him, coming from a challenging background and starting boxing only a few years ago. One of the reasons I got into coaching is to have a positive impact on people’s lives, rather than just finding future champions.

Coaching is a change for me, but I enjoy passing on the knowledge and support I received from my old amateur club. I believe it’s important to give back to the sport and not just take. I consider myself a good coach and cornerman, having had a successful amateur career.

Being a cornerman is fascinating, as it involves guiding boxers through fights and tailoring coaching to their individual personalities and styles. I also have to address the psychological aspect and provide support for the boxers leading up to fights.

Boxing and martial arts can have a positive impact on young people, helping with confidence, job opportunities, and social skills. It’s a shame that these activities are no longer offered in schools.

Although I would still rather be in the ring competing, helping boxers prepare brings back nostalgic memories. It can be a reminder of what I used to do and make me miss it.

Coaching hasn’t affected how I feel about my own career. Some days, I consider returning to boxing, while other days, I question the physical and mental stress and the risks involved. As I get older, the possibility of a return becomes less likely, and I will continue to be involved in boxing, potentially pursuing a pro license.

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